5 Reasons Women Are Awesome in Technology
March is Women’s History Month
Which is a great time to tell the world why women are beyond awesome in so many ways.
actual shoes of women tech founders
While I could probably write a book on a thousand reasons, I thought I would share five very powerful ones on why women are awesome in one crucial area: technology.
Let’s start with the fact that it’s not as common as it should be that women should be headlining our technology news.
While many men may have their own views as to why, so will women. And to list all those here would likely fill many more pages.
Breakthroughs in autonomous driving technology, crypto trading, the latest FinTech, or just a new mobile app are more often than not a picture like this.
Young, male founders you’ll see on the cover of or through leading articles in the most popular tech publications.
example of typical male tech founders
Just cool dudes — smart, innovative, and a mere a sample of the 99.9999% of what seems to make Founder Front Page News.
How often do we see women there instead? Not that often.
So, let’s take some time here and extoll innovative virtues that women have, at least by my own experience, so it’s not just from a soapbox.
Fiercely independent, women are about as status quo as a chameleon.
Their ideas, viewpoints, attitudes, and emotions shift like the sands of the desert. As for one quality they typically have not — it’s fixed ideations.
I can say from experience, women in the vast majority are not stuck in a rut of viewpoint, perception, knowledge, education, or “this is what we know works.”
This one quality alone makes women tower head and shoulders above even the tallest men in viewing the world.
Their view of exactly what you are convinced you see can be entirely different.
Do you want to know if your product idea, launch plan, or user experience crushes it or not? Have Her review it and provide you feedback.
This happened to me in the not too distant past. Having already been humbled before, I immediately disposed of my idea before I burned any further time and money on it.
I can almost guarantee you’re going to hear views and values you may not want to hear.
However, that feedback will likely save you thousands, if not millions, in making wrong decisions.
It’s pretty tough to out-create a woman in technology.
I’ll give a great example of why women in technology just crush this one in my experience.
Not that long ago, I worked on solving the name and branding for a new technology platform with my business partner. I had been going around and around on several ideas but just could not settle on what to do.
So, I thought I would tap someone for an idea and run my numerous ideas by Her. I also explained the business model, market, and customer persona.
It took Her all of about five seconds for a response, at which point she gave me a name and branding and promptly waved off anything else.
Stunned, I thought it through.
After much reasoning, calculated thought, mental adjustments, and realizing I would need to toss hours of my own creative work, I concluded she was right.
And her (confident) response was, “of course.”
While this may not always be the case and outcome for everyone, it certainly was the case for me, and I know it to also be the case from many others I’ve worked with.
How much empathy does a man genuinely have for what women go through in giving birth?
That’s a powerful question, but one that only the ignorant would seek an answer to.
In my experience, I’ve found that women are more capable of empathy than men. Raising a child, or even having the capability of doing so, engenders an innate level of diverse feedback you simply cannot get from a man.
For that reason, I find tech women can and will provide greater empathetic feedback on a technology strategy, road map, or product application than men.
And that, I find invaluable.
A quick story to my point. I had laid out a comprehensive, several-year road map for one of my earlier startups. It was pretty complete across business planning, verticals, go-to-market, product versions, and anticipated growth metrics.
I shared it with a female industry tech leader I knew and trusted well, as she wanted to catch up with me at the time and find out what I was now doing.
Her feedback was amazing.
While she believed we have put together a great vision and path ahead, she said the first version of what we were focused on would hit a brick wall as it didn’t solve the pain she knew users had. Instead, it focused on how slick our technology was, not how much relief it would bring to the end-user.
That amazed me. It’s a lens I wasn’t looking through and an aspect of product planning for our market that we were not necessarily centered on.
We made adjustments and shifted our marketing and positioning, and the difference it made was huge. Had I never gotten that feedback, we would have never shifted gears and gotten the impact we wanted.
Have you ever heard an engineer tell you, “that feature isn’t real; real life doesn’t work that way.”
How about… not that often? Unless that engineer or product manager is a woman.
Another story to my point.
We were laying down a full experience design for a marketing solution that, truthfully, had one too many touchpoints to achieve the best Time To Value (TTV) for the user.
However, I was more than convinced we needed those extra steps. Why? I believed the user would never understand why they were being moved into the next phase of their journey to use the application.
Here’s when She said, “I’m sorry, but that’s just unreal. No one would ever do that. Honestly, it’s a silly step and isn’t needed.”
After a long pause with about five people looking at me for a reaction, I said lightly (in my own smarty-pants tone), “ok, Miss Smarty Pants, then how does the user understand what’s next?”
Her response: “Well, Mr. KnowItAll, the user doesn’t need to understand. They just use it. That’s reality.”
I have to say, this is the one particular advantage women have over men: they know how to create “sexy.”
They can tell you in technology what works, what doesn’t, and what will be “sexy” (attractive, enticing) with a piece of technology or a design, and what won’t be.
Men, listen to women in tech. They know what they’re saying.
Another story to my point.
I recall working with a graphic designer for an email campaign some time ago. She submitted a header and content images that I felt were too “mushy” and would never bite with our clients (and their audience) for that specific campaign.
Foolishly, I had her create an alternate version and said, “let’s A-B test and see which bites.”
I was sure we would see about at least a 70:30 split result that favored the alternate that I approved. In fact, I was sure of it.
Foolish me. The results? 95:1 in her design favor.
In my meeting with her, I walked in with my hands up and said, “Well, you nailed it. But hey, seriously, how do you know it would bite so strong?”
Her response: “It’s a sexier email design. Of course, everyone would love it.”
Women in tech rock.
There is simply no way the technology industry can continue to plan, design, build, and deploy new technology without women.
They not only bring brilliance, but women also bring independence, creativity, empathy, reality, and a unique attractiveness to what gets innovated.
All of which is needed to make technology practical in our daily lives, across business, and our growing interactions with earth’s digital transformation.
So, thank you, ladies.